Honestly, I'm not that into telling people to go buy things. My first recommendation is to go to garage sales, craigslist, friends, and try to reuse products that are out there already. It's better for the environment and on your wallet. Sometimes that works.
But let's face it, we need to buy some products online to make traveling, cooking, and life easier, pleasurable and more efficient. And there is something to be said about a well-made product that lasts even if you beat on it a bit, which I do. LOL.
This is my list of products that I absolutely endorse that I use for travel, cooking, and learning.
If you click on the product picture you will be directed to our Amazon.com affiliate link and every purchase you make helps fund our show, at no additional cost to you.
So thanks for shopping and watching our show.
Essential Cooking Tools
Table Top Grater by Odiris
If you are not utilizing fresh coconuts in your cooking you are missing out on a healthy and sustainable ingredient.
Yes, there is labor involved in the process of getting the meat out of the coconut but it is meditative and yields a finished product that is essential to cooking excellent food.
You can buy husked cocos in most places and crack them in two with a knife to reveal the flesh. That is where this handy machine comes in. Place the coco next to it and turn the handle.
The finished product is beautiful freshly grated coconut which can used in a myriad of recipes.
Wood Stool Shredder
If you want to shred coconut the authentic way try this wood stool shredder. This is my preferred tool and it's surprising how much one coconut will yield.
You can also use the shell of the coconut to make other things like cups, candle holders, etc.
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
I consider a cast-iron skillet to be a required kitchen essential. This one is well-made in the USA and is relatively inexpensive. Talk about something that will last. Of course check thrift stores, garage sales, and freeboxes before you send away for this one. Their pretty common. But if you can't find one get it!
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
And if you want to pick up another invaluable piece of cast iron get a dutch oven. So good for cooking over an open fire but also works over a gas flame in your kitchen and a great way to use less energy than an oven. Since it is black you can use it as a solar incubator for things like yogurt which need a temp of around 105 F(40.5 C).
I also bake bread, cake, and cook stews in mine all the time.
Lodge Cast Iron Griddle
Nothing like pancakes when your camping. I also cook flatbreads, sauté onions, and use the raised grill side for fish.
Vietnamese Coffee Maker
It's like the coffee version of a one-hitter. This elegant and simple piece fits great in your luggage and can produce a beautifully strong cup of coffee wherever you go. Just add grounds, pour hot water, and wait. If you are in hot places you can pick up a can of sweetened condensed milk and make it like the Vietnamese do. Pour it over ice!
Syphon Coffee Maker
Such an effective and elegant way to make coffee. The Japanese love it and so do I!
When you travel a good backpack can go a long way to helping prevent things from getting lost, or smelling bad, or dropped on some obscure road in the middle of Laos.
I actually did quite a bit of research to determine the kind of backpack I needed for traveling. I finally settled on this DaKine pack. It is really a snowboarding pack which while I'm sure is great for snowboarding provides a lot of utility even in hot tropical places.
There is a lining inside that is water proof which is great for wet bathing suits or other moist items that you do not want to leak throughout the backpack. I found that all the straps which are supposed to hold backcountry snowboarding equipment are great for holding all kinds of items I use when traveling including water bottles, camera equipment, and sporting equipment. I really like the velcro pocket deep inside the pack which is where I always put my passport and other items that I did not want vulnerable to pickpocketing. The entire backpack can go into a washing machine on regular cycle and come out looking brand new. Despite traveling extensively I still have this pack and it looks almost brand new. I'm a huge fan.
Locals pushing a boat into Arugam Bay
Moto G - 4th Generation
If you don't want to get stuck in a contract with one of the big phone companies that costs way more than it's worth go this route. It's way better for traveling.
My Iphone broke in the airport right before our last journey around the world. So I bought this phone in a vending machine in the airport ($240 US) and I'm glad I did. We filmed a lot of our show on it. I dropped it in about 2 ft of seawater in the Maldives and dropped it on the ground many times. It still works great and it is much less expensive than the Iphone.
Plus it still has a headphone jack (unlike the Iphone) and you can put SIM cards from many countries in it which is great for travel. It also let's you create a WIFI hotspot so your traveling partner can have data service without purchasing an additional SIM card.
My Moto G has only 8GB of memory so I advise getting the 32GB memory one. You can also expand your memory with the microSD card.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
- Mark Twain
JBL - Flip
The JBL Flip is one of the best purchases I have ever made. I purchased my first one about five years ago, and it's quite beat up but still works great.
I bought another one two years ago because it is good to have a backup. The reason I like it so much is the beautiful balance and fidelity of the sound. I'm a stickler for fidelity. This little speaker puts out amazing sound in a very small package.
It fits great in my backpack and it easily Bluethooths to my phone so I could have music on the go. Battery life is decent and it has an 1/8 inch external input so sometimes I hook it to my guitar and use it as a mini amplifier.
I'm listening to the speaker as I write this and marveling that 6 years and thousands of miles of travel and this speaker still sounds fantastic.
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Gorgeous Malaysian food
Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation
Michael Pollan's books have taught me many thing about food and food production that I never would have found anywhere else. His writing is sensible and thoroughly researched.
Cooked is brilliant in the way it sections itself off in to 4 parts. The parts represent the different elemental cooking techniques with fire (he covers BBQ), air (baking), water (with pots in a standard kitchen), and Earth (fermentation).
Understanding the different ways we utilize these elements to shape what we are making has made me a better cook myself.
Of course I recommend all of Michael Polllan's books especially the Omnivore's Dilemma and Botany of Desire. Cooked is another great effort by our beloved food guru and probably the book that applies more to cooking than his other books.
One Pan To Rule Them All:
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life
I have never taken the day off of "work" to go surfing and regretted it. I consider surfing my yoga - the thing that keeps me balanced and hopeful. All my travel surfing adventures have been the most memorable journeys I've had.
So any book that inspires you to quit your job and go surf is good with me. This one one the Pulitzer Prize and made Pres. Obama's (himself an accomplished bodysurfer) reading list.
Getting ready for surf in the Maldives